Leeds United: Crunch time looming for Cellino and Redfearn

Massimo Cellino
Massimo Cellino
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Former Leeds United striker Peter Lorimer believes Neil Redfearn’s future as head coach is “the biggest decision of the summer” at Elland Road – and says Redfearn would be wise to leave the role if he and Massimo Cellino can’t “sing from the same hymnsheet”.

Writing in his regular YEP column, Lorimer claimed that the retention of Redfearn as first-team boss next season would be “delaying the inevitable” unless the 49-year-old and Cellino were able to agree on a fixed plan for the year ahead.

Redfearn, who took over as United’s head coach in November, is at the end of his contract and awaiting talks with Cellino following the Italian’s return from his disqualification as club owner.

Cellino’s ban ended on Sunday and he revealed last night that the Football League had already approved his appointment to the board as chairman, 48 hours after receiving his application. The 58-year-old – Leeds’ president prior to his ban – replaces existing chairman Andrew Umbers who took up the role when Cellino was disqualified by the Football League in January. Umbers will remain at Elland Road as a director.

Cellino and Redfearn have not spoken since the end of his ban and Redfearn has been planning for the return of Leeds’ squad for pre-season training on July 1 without any assurances that he will still be in charge on that date.

His contract includes an option allowing him to resume to his old job as academy boss should Leeds appoint a new head coach, but recent comments from Redfearn indicated that he would be reluctant to take up that role again after six months in control of the first team.

Lorimer said: “It’s by far the biggest decision of the summer and to my mind everything hinges on the two of them sitting down, speaking their minds, seeing where the conversation takes them, and then agreeing to either move forward together or to part company.”

Lorimer added: “As much as Neil must want to keep the job and make a success of it, he’d admit himself that there’s absolutely no point in him continuing as head coach unless he and Massimo have a shared view on how things should work. That would be a waste of everyone’s time.”

Lorimer added: “If they don’t see eye-to-eye or if they’ve got fundamentally different ideas, keeping Neil on would be a case of delaying the inevitable.

“Football’s the same as life in general – contentious issues always lead to fall-outs and the only way Leeds can ever be successful is if the whole club are singing from the same hymnsheet. A head coach and his owner have got to be like-minded.”